The urgency of the coronavirus pandemic is such that Dr Kathryn Armstrong, a top medic based in Vancouver but with deep roots on the north coast, where her family used to run a hotel, has called on the authorities here to close the roads to the north west this Easter in a bid to stop anyone defying the lockdown to head for one of the lovely beaches in the area.
For many people, an excursion to or stay in the north coast area has been one of the most traditional customs of our Easter.
A trip to Portrush or Portstewart on Easter Monday has been a date for many a family diary to mark the start of the spring season, and if there is a burst of sunny weather that is the time when ice-cream parlours and cafes are ready for big business. Sadly, such family adventures have been cancelled because of the virus.
Each year around early spring the North West 200 is a magnet for multitudes of people. Now it has been cancelled, too, and even The Open golf championship, which brought such joy and prestige in Portrush and was won by Irishman Shane Lowry, has also been cancelled at Royal St George's in Kent. What a difference a year brings.
Now the parades on the Twelfth, which continued through the worst of the Troubles, are also cancelled. The Orange Order has made a wise decision, and there are hopes that the organisers of bonfires, which create such trouble and tension every year, will heed the calls not go ahead either. Full marks are due to the senior Orangeman Reverend Mervyn Gibson, who has called on the brethren and bandsmen and women to divert their energies to help the effort to battle coronavirus in their own communities, as well as praising their members who are key workers all across the province.
Many of these people are playing their part but the cancellation of the Twelfth and the diversion of energies to other causes is remarkable in the history of Northern Ireland. The Orange Order has faced widespread criticism in recent years, but when they do make the right decision, as they have done in this case, they are to be commended.
The warnings about the potential surge in the virus must be heeded, and another illustration of the strangeness of the times is the fact that a Belfast city centre hotel is being turned into a hospital. The best way for all of us to stay healthy in our homes is simply to do just that - stay in to protect yourselves and others.